With only a few weeks remaining in the legislative session, action at the Capitol is in full swing and we’re busy meeting with legislators to keep bike-related bills moving. Here’s what’s happening right now:
HB 2188, the ebike bill authored by Representative John Frullo: has passed the House! It now goes to the Senate Transportation Committee. Keep an eye out for updates and Action Alerts as this bill moves forward.
- Some Texas cities have classified ebikes as “motorized devices,” a classification they’ve also applied to escooters. HB 2188 clarifies that ebikes should be classified as bicycles statewide.
- HB 2188 would bring Texas’ ebike laws into line with current standards (Class 1, 2, and 3 ebikes) that are in place in 15 states and many countries.
- Class 1 and 3 ebikes have motor assist while pedaling. Class 2 has a throttle that works without pedaling.The bill contains age restriction, of 15 years and up, for 28 MPH ebikes (Class 3).
- An ebike may have a motor below 750 watts and still be considered to be a bicycle. However, once a motor reaches the 750-watt threshold, the vehicle (while not prohibited) is no longer classified as a bicycle. Other statutes address motorcycles and mopeds.
- There are no special speed limits on roads for ebikes. Cities may designate speed limits on trails used by bikes and ebikes.
HB 962, the Safe Passing bill authored by Representative Rick Miller: is in Calendars Committee waiting to be scheduled to be sent to the House floor. If your representative sits on this committee, please call or email and ask them to send HB 962 to the floor.
- Safe Passing establishes a minimum three-foot passing distance for vulnerable road users statewide, an ordinance already in place in over 20 Texas cities.
- This bill allows for law enforcement to educate all road users in what a safe passing distance looks like by adding a definition instead of leaving “safe” in the eye of the beholder.
HCR 64, the resolution for trails funding guidance authored by Representative Gary VanDeaver: was passed by the Transportation Committee and is on its way to Calendars Committee now. If your representative sits on this committee, please call or email and ask them to send HCR 64 to the floor.
- Initial legislation passed in the 2005 lege created the requirement to explore statewide bicycle tourism trails and other multiuse trails.
- In 2018, TxDOT completed the two-year Texas Bicycle Tourism Trails Study, which recommended that TxDOT identify, fund, and develop trail segments to demonstrate the economic and other effects of trails on local communities.
- Similar projects in other states have demonstrated significant economic and community development benefits in small and rural communities.
- This resolution specifically encourages the Texas Transportation Commission to fund the recommended projects using available federal funds. Federal funding for these projects may range up to $80 million dollars.
- The Commission may provide 75% of the 20% local match required by Federal law for such projects.
Please note: it’s critical that you ONLY contact your OWN representative or senator and no one else. Not sure who represents you? Find your representatives here at Who Represents Me? Once you get to your representative’s website, you can see which committees he or she sits on, as well as contact info for their Austin and district offices. Please contact the Austin office with your requests that they vote yes on these bills.
Thank you for your support of bicycling in Texas!
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